The GDC has announced today that it will not, as planned, be making final conclusions about the proposed annual retention fee (ARF) level for dentists and dental care practitioners at its September meeting.
It has pushed back that decision until 30 October – an extension of nearly seven weeks over what was originally proposed. The Council will still be meeting on 18 September and “will consider the outcomes and some broader themes that have emerged about regulation and the handling of complaints in particular.”
In addition to this development, the GDC has commissioned KPMG to consider the background to its own assumptions justifying the rise.
Commenting on these developments the Chair of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee, Mick Armstrong, said:
The BDA’s response to the GDC consultation raised serious concerns about the integrity of the principles upon which it had justified the fee rise. We await KPMG’s comments on the same assumptions that the independent analysts, FTI, challenged. With such a significant decision it is regrettable that the GDC didn’t make sure its figures were robust before it started.
We also indicated that two weeks was an unrealistically short period to carry out proper evaluation of the evidence and comments submitted. The GDC has clearly agreed with this challenge and has now extended the period to over four times that long.
The submission from Dental Protection Limited was highly critical of the GDC’s approach to both the classification and handling of the fitness to practise process. Evidently the Council now feels the need to reflect on those and other comments.
On all grounds, the GDC has been forced to think again – it is a shame that it could only do so when confronted with such a massive amount of informed criticism. All we have ever wanted is a fair process and properly reasoned arguments. That and a reasonable ARF paid to a GDC that is fit for purpose.
Let us hope that the pause for thought allows both to be delivered. Members can rest assured that the BDA will be monitoring the situation closely